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Olivia Wilde and Conscious Commerce Promote Activism - BORGEN

COLLEGE PARK, Maryland– Actress Olivia Wilde, who starred in the award winning “Her And Last Year’s Rush,” is considered to be in the prime of her career, yet the actress has decided to dedicate a great deal of her time not spent acting to her new business, Conscious Commerce, a website that promotes philanthropy in a different way.

Rather than just asking people to donate money to a cause, Conscious Commerce asks consumers to donate money by buying products that they want. In this way, the website establishes a connection between specific brands and charities, because every purchase that a consumer makes will give a portion back to charity.

In regard to this new way of encouraging people to be philanthropic, Wilde says, “It should be shocking when a product is not somehow helping the people who made it.”

U.S. Foreign Aid Facts - The Borgen Project

According to a poll by the Kaiser Family Foundation, Americans think 28% of the budget goes to foreign aid. Many are shocked to find that the real number is close to 1%! The same poll also found out that when people learn the truth, it changes their opinions. When asked if the U.S. spends too much on foreign aid, 61% said “too much” while 13% said “too little.” When asked the same question after learning the true proportion, just 30% said “too much” while 28% said “too little.”

Education must continue to dispel any myths about U.S. foreign aid and fight ignorance with facts. Here are some facts about U.S. foreign aid that could help you in your crusade!

  • Nearly 3 billion people worldwide have received assistance from United States Agency for International Development (USAID)
  • U.S. foreign aid dictates future agriculture export totals; 43 of the top 50 consumers of American agriculture products are past recipients
  • Over 3 million lives are saved every year due to USAID health programs
  • Largely due to USAID programs, the world has observed a 10 percent reduction in infant mortality in just eight years
  • USAID family planning programs has seen the children per family average decrease from 6.1 to 4.2 in just 50 years in participating nations.
  • The number of democratic nations in the world grew from 58 to 115 between 1980 and 1995. The U.S. provided assistance to 36 newly formed nations during this period.

Victories Fighting Poverty - The Borgen Project

Good News in the War on Poverty

  • Over the past 20 years, the number of the world’s chronically undernourished has been reduced by 50 percent.
  • Life expectancy in the developing world has increased by about 33 percent.
  • Smallpox has been eradicated worldwide.
  • More than 3 million lives are saved every year through USAID immunization programs.
  • During the 1990s, hunger was cut in half in China.
  • 43 of the top 50 consumer nations of American agricultural products were once U.S. foreign aid recipients.
  • Between 1990 and 1993, U.S. exports to developing and transitioning countries increased by $46 billion.
  • In the past 50 years, infant and child death rates in the developing world have been reduced by 50 percent.
  • Health conditions around the world have improved more during this time period than at any time in human history.
  • In 1992, early USAID action in Southern Africa prevented massive famine in the region, saving millions of lives.
  • Literacy rates are up 33 percent worldwide in the last 25 years. Primary school enrollment has tripled in that period.

Learn More…

Number of Homeless Students has Risen Since the Recession - BORGEN

The number of students who don’t have homes has risen dramatically since the recession. The global financial crisis critically affected a great many families in the United States and has resulted in a 70% increase in the amount of homeless youth, according to data released by the Department of Education (DOE). The amount of students that are actually homeless is quite alarming and startling.

The data from the DOE indicates that overall 1,168,354 students from preschool to the 12th grade are homeless…

The Cost of Sending the Mars Rover Over a Hill - BORGEN

According to NASA’s website, the total price of the rover, including spacecraft development, science investigations and funds for launch and operations, is 2.5 billion. Although this figure may frighten even the most stalwart and patriotic of Americans, as Amy Shierateitel points out, the Curiosity’s cost over its nine year development amounted to only 8 dollars per citizen.

Funding for U.S. Foreign Aid has been similarly criticized. Although U.S. Government funding for humanitarian assistance and international development in 2013 totaled around 23 billion, this was still well under 1% of the total U.S. budget. On average, Americans spend roughly 73 dollars each on foreign aid.

Progress for Women is Unequal - BORGEN

NEW YORK- In 1994, the United Nations met in Cairo, Egypt for the International Conference on Population and Development (ICPD). More than 170 countries signed the 20-year Program of Action, also known as the Cairo Consensus. This program recognized that “equal rights and universal access to sexual and reproductive health services were essential for sustainable development.”

Population control methods included family planning policies, and increased access to contraception and education. However, in broader terms, women’s empowerment and the right to control their own bodies and lives would have the largest impact on their individual well being.

On February 12, 2014, the United Nations released the ICPD Beyond 2014 Global Report, examining the progress of 176 countries that signed the Cairo Consensus. This report is the first genuine comprehensive review of the progress and challenges that nations face worldwide. The results “strongly reinforce the Cairo Consensus, placing human rights and individual dignity at the heart of development.” Learn more…

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The Olympic Costs to the Brazilian Poor - The Borgen Project

Brazil has the strongest economy in Latin America with an extremely important agricultural and industrial influence, but there is still a large amount of poverty in the country. The main cause of the majority of Brazilian poverty is the problems concerning social exclusion and income inequality, though there have been recent improvements with the distribution of income.

Nearly 35% of the entire country lives in poverty with less than two dollars a day, and about 51% of the people living in rural areas experience poverty. Since there are approximately 36 million people living in the rural areas of Brazil, there are around 18 million people in poor rural areas; the most in any country in the Western Hemisphere.

In preparation for the 2016 Olympics to be held in Rio de Janeiro, the Brazilian government is taking steps to clean up the city and rejuvenate the area. Though this is good for bringing in revenue from the tourism that will come with the Olympics, the improvements to the city are at the expense of the nearby poor….

As the winter season starts to wind down, students from across the country are beginning their search of summer internships. Summer internships are a great way to gain new experiences, travel to places you’ve always wanted to visit, and meet new people—all while gaining valuable skills that will give you the edge in securing employment in the future.

Landing a summer internship can seem like a daunting task. What am I interested in? How do I apply? If you have arrived at these questions, you are already on the right path! Most companies offer students the chance to play a role in their daily functions and learn about their work environment. For those interested in global poverty reduction, human rights activism, and other service based careers, here are potential summer internship opportunities for you…

Afghan Health Care Crisis Still Underway - The Borgen Project

In Afghanistan, a woman dies every two hours due to pregnancy related problems. On top of that, each year 1 in 10 children die before reaching the age of five. Afghanistan has one of the highest child and maternal mortality rates worldwide. A large reason for this is the turmoil the country has been experiencing in the last few decades.

Many of Afghanistan’s citizens are refugees and its infrastructure and economy have been severely devastated because of the chronic instability and conflict that it has plagued the region in recent years. Now forming a resurgent force in the Southern and Eastern parts of the country, supporters of the tightly-strung Islamic movement have re-grouped since the fall of the Taliban administration in 2001. The government has been struggling to extend its authority to enhance national unity beyond the capital of Kabul. Despite its mountainous, landlocked terrain, Afghanistan has been fought over for a long time because of its strategic position between India, Central Asia, and the Middle East…

Thanks to these Adlens glasses, people in developing countries can benefit from a luxury we take for granted: prescription glasses. Yes, we may complain about how expensive prescription glasses are, but in other parts of the world, such innovations are prohibitively expensive.


Adlens glasses, however, ingeniously inject water into the lenses in order to create adjustable magnification. At the turn of a knob, Adlens glasses are easily adjusted to individual vision needs. Available at Adaptive Eyewear, hopefully we’ll see more like-minded concepts in other health areas.

(via fucknopoverty)


Street children sleep under a bridge in Paranaque city, metro Manila on July 18, 2013.

[Credit : Romeo Ranoco/Reuters]

How Agroecology Can Save the World - BORGEN

DETROIT, Michigan- The practice of agroecology first came to my attention while reading Tracie McMillan’s “The American Way of Eating,” a journalistic account of the author’s experiences while working in various food production jobs across the country. Starting in a grape vineyard in California and ending at a Brooklyn Applebee’s, McMillan explores the business of food in the United States, most notably the inaccessibility of healthy food for the majority of the nation.

While working at a Wal-Mart in Detroit, a city known as a ‘food desert,’ McMillan encountered a farming technique initiated by the Detroit Black Community Food Security Network. The community organization uses sustainable farming techniques in urban locations to grow well-tended fruits and vegetables. Michigan State University found that such a practice that could, potentially, provide more than half of Detroit’s fruit and vegetable consumption.

To better explain how such a practice could replace the industrial food system and possibly revolutionize food distribution in developing countries, here is a five-point list explaining the what, where, and why of agroecology…